I know nothing about making a home look beautiful or cozy. Decorating was not a family value. When we first moved to America, my parents were too busy and poor to worry about picking out shower curtains, and by time a little decor became financially feasible, years of thrifty practicality had turned shabby-not-so-chic into a permanent household motif: for example, all throughout my teens, our living room furniture consisted of two car seats taken from a minivan. “Why, these are just as comfy as any regular armchair!” my dad assured me. As the pace of life slowed down, my parents began to decorate, but it was too late for me to learn from them and their adorable garden gnomes.
A glorious decoupaged ceiling, courtesy of a DIY tutorial on Apartment Therapy. Probably outside my current skill level.
When I moved out, my underdeveloped sense of decorating received little nourishment in the college dorms or in my first apartment, a leaky two-bedroom North Philly. My roommate slapped up ’80s beer posters with chicks in gold lamé suits; I cut my favorite images out of a Werner Pawklok book, put them into $3 frames from CVS, and hung them lopsidedly nearby. My first “real” apartment never reached its full potential; I was too busy with my first “real” job. In LA, an array of confusing and bizarre living situations left little room for creativity. My first housemate on the West Coast turned out to be an animal abuser: I’d often come home to find her watching reality TV, surrounded by steaming piles of turds littered throughout the living room and kitchen, left there by her sickly animals, which were often dressed in ridiculous gowns that covered up oozing lesions. Decorating that place was the last thing on my mind. When that living room situation reached its inevitable meltdown, I started bouncing around from one sublet to another, moving from shoebox to shoebox until finally, through a set of circumstances that would take too long to describe here, I ended up living in a closet. Not figuratively – literally. It was there that I finished Issue 02.
But this post isn’t a solicitation for pity, dear reader. I’m writing to seek advice! For my luck has finally changed. The dream apartment has fallen into my lap: hardwood floors, a little garden, a bay window. Having a lair that delights the senses is all about inspiration and self-respect, and I don’t want to let this opportunity pass me by. Except – I know nothing about decorating. Walking into a person’s nicely-arranged space feels like wandering into a museum, full of wondrous objects mystically aligned through a studied science that takes years to master. I don’t know how to do it. I don’t even know where to start.
So I thought I’d start by asking you guys. What tips do you have for someone who has never decorated before? I don’t the first thing about painting a wall or figuring out where to hang a picture. What home decor blogs do you like? What cute Etsy sellers do you reccomend? But more importantly than that, I’m curious to hear about people’s decorating experience. How did you approach the problem of decorating your very own space, for the very first time?